Stress is a serious issue, and chronic stress can have damaging effects on your physical health. In an extended challenging economy, many people are dealing with long term stress in the work place and the demands of home.
The body doesn’t distinguish between psychological stress and physical threats. Our biology interprets it all as a “fight or flight” situation. It doesn’t know that instead of a saber-toothed tiger chasing you, your car blew a tire on the way to pick up your child at daycare. Our body goes into “red alert” mode whenever it thinks it’s under attack.
Most people know that stress can lead to high blood pressure or stroke. But did you know that it suppresses your immune system? Stress can lead to sleep problems, infertility, diabetes, weight gain, and accelerated aging. That’s right. You get fat and wrinkled faster! Take that for motivation to manage your stress!
Sometimes major life changes are needed to tackle stress. But you can take daily steps to manage your stress level. Most of these tips take just a few minutes. Paying attention is the key. You are not invulnerable, and you deserve to live a better, less stressful life.
Listen to your favorite music. Music is a great stress-reliever. Listen in the car or at home at a time that you get to choose the music.
Hug someone. Hug your spouse, your significant other, your kid, or your pet. Physical contact makes us happier and reduces stress.
Breathe deeply and stretch for a few minutes. Making yourself take several deep breaths at your desk will relax you.
Take a parking lot minute. If you drive to work, take one minute before you go into the building to just sit quietly. Close your eyes and empty your mind. Take a few deep breaths and you’ll feel relaxed and ready to go.
Take mini breaks. This is especially important for those of you who work through lunch and power through the whole day without taking a breath. Stand up and walk around just for a few minutes. Have a “parking lot minute” at your desk. Give yourself time to recharge.
Remember to laugh. Kids laugh all the time. As adults we laugh a whole lot less. What a shame. It feels good to laugh! Watch short funny videos on YouTube, watch a funny movie at home, subscribe to a joke of the day, find humor in small things.
Have manageable to-do lists. It’s stressful to look at a daily to-do list that’s impossible to get done. Prioritize your list and make sure you have a list you can actually get done in a day.
Eat healthy. You knew this had to be on the list. Limit the refined sugar and eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Have berries at breakfast. Eat fresh leafy vegetables at lunch and dinner. Start by committing to do just one thing, like eliminating an afternoon sugar snack.
Get some movement. Walk, get outside. Movement makes your body and mind feel better.
Maintain a calm sleeping environment. Make your bedroom a serene place. Take out the TV and leave your cell phone in another room. Get to bed early enough or get up late enough so you’re getting enough sleep. Fatigue leads to more stress.